Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

This

Knocks


Well. This is my favorite album of 2017 so far. I haven’t been this happy about a project in a while. 23 year old, Long Beach rapper, Vince Staples has delivered something really unique and exciting to the world of hip-hop. People have been dick-riding Vince for quite some time now for non music reactions and hot takes but here I am…hoppin’ on. Vince is fucking cool. He has an honest, relaxed and confidently dry demeanor that seems super secure with his interesting views. Even if he didn’t make great music, he could be an entertainer just because of his personality and presence.

But let’s talk about the music. To me, his music sounds clean with stellar production that still lets Vince bar out. His cadence, voice, the tendency to hold out words while giving you relatable and hard-hitting lyrics is amazing. Listen to the older “Norf Norf” for a damn near perfect example of his style. Big Fish Theory is no different but still completely left field of what is mainstream hip hop right now. The production took crazy artistic risks bringing a more electronic style to the instrumentals. There is a lot of non-traditional drums and synths that would work on an experimental electronica album (WHICH I LOVE). The first track “Crabs In a Bucket” sets this tone immediately. Atmospheric, yet cutting synths, vocal samples and drums that come in and out. I love it. The single, “Big Fish,” feels more like a traditional Vince song. Seemingly simple instrumental with an unending flow during the verses; this may be the most “normal” of the entire track list. “Love Can Be…” is pretty much a glitch-hop/house track and doesn’t even have rapping in it until it is nearly half way over. It’s like Staples was a feature on his own song.

One of the many things I like about Vince is that he has great choruses. “Big Fish,” “Homage,” “Party People” and “Yeah Right” are noticeably great in this area. The latter track, “Yeah Right” is a standout. I’m at work so I had to listen to this song through headphones. That was disrespectful. Once I get home, I’m playing this on my good speakers because this absolutely bangs. It’ll rattle cheap cars in the streets. It’ll cause your neighbors to bang on your wall. It’ll register on the Richter scale. Add in one of the better Kung Fu Kenny features and ya know what, just fuck me up fam.

The production is so good that I felt myself caring less about what Staples was saying but more how he said things in relation to the beat. I did gather that he has lived a significantly different life than mine. Tracks are about the world around him, women and things that have happened to him. Nothing too groundbreaking but said in a really cool way by a really cool person.

This album is weird and definitely Vince took a risk but in the best way possible. I really really really like Big Fish Theory and it will fit nicely into my playlist(s). Vince’s flows are engaging in a cool rambling way. He raps nonstop and throws random rhythm changes that just feel so good. Like Danny Brown, Vince’s voice just sounds good over close to anyhing. I want to dance, fight and rave to this. He committed to the direction the album was gonna take and took it there.

ALSO THE RUNTIME IS ONLY 36 MINUTES. 

Get you some:

A Lil Loopy

I’m getting scared yo. Recently celebrated a birthday and I’m working a 9-5 that has 0 impact on my life. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Sleep. Repeat. This loop can go weeks without changing or I can break some of it up with hanging out with friends, going to concerts, going on dates, getting hammered on the weekends. No matter what though, once Monday hits, it all starts again. Is this my life? Is this a majority of every adult life? Sprinkle in some kids and variances in money and that routine gets everyone. Some people love it, some people would rather not just be a cog in their own machine.

 

Haven’t done a poem in awhile:

He shoots the ball

Around the hoop

In a loop

Until it falls.

He ties his strings

of his boots

In a loop

Until it stings.

She flips her hair

while she snoops

in a loop

Until he stares.

 

via Daily Prompt: Loop

RELIEVED

This story is 67% true.


Man, this is so dumb. We got to this parade and I’m kinda in a bad mood. It’s been pouring for like 45 minutes but thankfully it is starting to clear up. I need to start drinking now. Someone in our group tells us there is a beer distributor around the corner. Alright bet. Three OE pounders and this cranberry vodka a friend gave me should be enough to get me to a happy place. The parade begins. Music, marching, mammaries are everywhere. Two beers down, it’s a great time.

Oh shit, I have to pee.

We are locked in the middle of this parade and the slow moving dance troupe in front of us is starting their routine again. I gotta get outta here. The sides are lined with people taking pictures of the extravagance around us and the end is not in sight. I’m a big boy and I’ve had to pee before but the stakes are much higher when options are limited. WHERE IS THE CLOSEST BATHROOM!? We keep marching but I’m surveying the land. Much to the dismay of my bladder, there isn’t one in sight. Ten minutes pass and we’ve reached critical mass. You know what, step 1: get out the parade. I’ll be able to walk and investigate faster. Also, if I hear Beyonce’s “Freakum Dress” one more time, somebody is getting a golden shower.

“Excuse me, excuse me,” as I break the barrier in a rush. The crowd is only like five rows deep but some onlookers caught a rough shoulder on my way out. Freedom. “Hey,” I scare a stranger, “Where is the closest bathroom??” The fear they felt subsides enough for them to point to a giant brown building about a 100 yards down the boardwalk. “Thanks!” I yell before run/walking through the masses. I see a line. Must be the women’s room.  I walk around the other side of the building and waltz into a stall. Now the rules suggest that you shouldn’t stand next to another man at a urinal unless space requires it. Bump that. Thank God, I’m wearing swim trunks. I peel the important parts out of the netting and let fly.

I was relieved.

via Daily Prompt: Relieved

Justin Davis-Justin Davis

This is a review of me, Justin Davis, the person. Album is self-titled obviously.


Justin Davis, born today, 26 years ago, is a black male hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Now residing in Philadelphia, he attempts to slither through life as a product of his upbringing and experiences. He’s…alright.

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Actual Picture of Justin

His parents raised him in church and taught him to be a generally respectable member of society. They were probably aware that his lot in life as a black man would make it harder for him but never let on that it could hinder him. They encouraged him to do things that he enjoyed and only applied force when they saw what was best for him (like getting a job). His parents were also results of their environment and could only raise him the way they thought best…which turned out to be decent. They are the reason he loves music and read a ton as a kid. Justin is curious, decent at many things, well liked (I THINK) and mostly healthy.

Not everything was/is sunshine and roses though. Personal trauma at a very young age and his first job at Walmart are two distinct events that had negative affects on Justin’s thought processes and emotional outlook. Experiencing retail first-hand formed a low expectation of humans in general and caused him to deaden his emotional range.  You can’t be hurt if you can’t feel (love proves this to be patently false no matter how hard one tries). It also made him a prolific liar. The dislike of people grew but so did a longing to be a part of society. Unsure of where his social awkwardness originated, he tries to navigate situations through analyzing all possibilities and having a prepared response. People tend to enjoy his company (GOD, I HOPE SO) but sometimes it results in him being the quietest person in the room. About the personal trauma…uuhhh nope, only family and few others know about it. Let’s just say that no good came of it, a net negative on his life projection that no child should have to experience.

Despite a concerted effort to only exhibit emotions between nothingness or joy, there is a quick tempered, easily annoyed person that is constantly kept in check. He’s made it his only goal to exclusively seek happiness. History shows that when he gets emotional, things change swiftly (and sometimes recklessly) to accommodate. Whether that be quitting a good job or ending a healthy relationship. Justin’s aware that his life outlook is inherently selfish, focused on bettering and appeasing himself first before putting a great deal of effort trying to better the world. Music makes him happy. Watching movies makes him happy. Puncturing the cellophane of a Ben&Jerry’s container makes him happy. Successfully weaving through a conversation makes him happy. Making someone else happy makes him happy. Playing the drums is not only deeply cathartic but is Justin’s positive contribution to the world and that contribution makes him happy. This pursuit of happiness, has created a strict set of social guidelines. Justin wants everyone that he interacts with to have a pleasant experience, even if he hates their guts. No excess drama, creating the least amount trouble and generally staying out the way.  This has caused sacrifices that he’s been willing to bear but he’s no saint because as previously stated…it is all for his happiness. And you know what: he’s pretty happy.

Justin Davis is a decent person. He needs to lose some weight and shrug off his tendency to choose laziness over something smarter but at 26 he’s got some time to figure it out. He uses his Twitter to vomit stream of consciousness nonsense and writes here not just for himself but in the hopes that someone can find just a little bit of joy in this RIDICULOUS WORLD.

7/10 because he got a haircut yesterday.

Thoughts on the Taper

Haven’t written anything dumb in awhile so here


*Theme Song*

Shout out to the GAP for making pants for big behind. I wouldn’t consider myself fat but I do have thick thighs and a big ol’ butt. I’m thicker than a bowl of oatmeal. Recently I discovered that the GAP made a straight leg pant that tapers at the bottom. They are perfect. I bought them in three colors. I’m wearing a pair right now.

I realized that I a lot of time when I talk I taper off. I wonder why? I already speak weird because of my big tongue (LOL I DONT KNOW IF THIS TRUE) so I shouldn’t make it hard for people to understand me. Start strong then trail off like I’m unsure of what I’m talking about.

I image searched the word “taper” on Google and the results were a bunch of dudes getting haircuts with it faded on the sides. I’m gonna start getting my hair cut like that. Currently I look like a homeless man but I got stuff going on soon (and get some cheeks), so I need to get taken care off. I used to get it all one length cut real low. Once, during a particularly bushy period when my coworkers were urging me to get my hair game situated, one said “You’re a man, you don’t wanna be lookin’ like a twelve year old boy.” He’s totally right. I might go today honestly.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Taper

Katy Perry-Witness

This album can witness deez nuts


So I was supposed to write this last Friday, the day this came out but I got busy at work and the SZA review took longer than I thought. Also, my general opinion of the album was a lot more negative last week. I was scared that I would soften up with a fresh listen AND IT FREAKIN’ HAPPENED UGH.

In any case, guilty pleasure of mine Katy Perry released her fifth studio project Witness and apparently this was supposed to usher in her new era of “purposeful” or “woke” pop. Before the release, Katy dropped three singles which in my opinion were all very good. “Chained to the Rhythm” is a classic Katy song; high energy, prominent bass line, feature, and a decent little message. “Swish Swish” is good too with a hard synthy dance beat and absolutely dope Nicki Minaj feature. You know how I feel about “Bon Appétit”

Unfortunately, the rest of the album, save a few cuts, is generally disappointing. Not bad but disappointing. Katy was right, this is a departure for her but in atmosphere and sound palette; not so much in message. During my listens I was waiting for Witness to wake up and say something meaningful. This could have been me expecting something that wasn’t explicitly promised. A general theme was self-confidence, self-preservation and self-love runs through the album. Throw in a couple songs about love, a not so subtle metaphorical sex song and it’s not anything the artist hasn’t touched on before.

There are two big sins on Witness. The homogeneous production on a majority of the songs and then the writing. Concerning the production, the problem is not that it is all bad, it’s its sameness. Songs can sound similar (driving bass drums, synths, vocals) but I liked the ideas of some waaayy more than others. “Witness” and “Déjà Vu” are decent with the latter having really singable chorus and that dark electronic pop feel that characterizes the entire project. On the other hand “Hey Hey Hey” and “Roulette” give me no reason to care about them despite having a similar formula as the previously mentioned songs. The biggest problem is the writing. Holy moly it is bad. Like glaringly, distractingly bad. There are a ton of lazy, eye rolling similes and nothing that you have to think about or appreciate later. It is all surface level platitudes mixed with some truly awful lines.

“Your words are like Chinese water torture” Heavy Sigh

It’s not all bad though. Witness takes some influence from the 80s with its synth choices and random big drum fills (looking at you “Power”) but some of it totally works. “Power,” even with that dumb fill, is actually awesome. The fill is only out of place at the beginning but the stupid sax in the background more than makes up for it. The chorus is gaudy, loud and strong. The lead synth is crunchy and “electric as fuck” (her words…like they are in the song). “Mind Maze” is probably the weirdest song and despite the unnecessary auto-tuned lines, I like it a lot. The vocal melody is rhythmic and works well with the spacey, video game (not a bad thing) instrumental. The end of the verses tease the coming of a big chorus but nope not here. A ton of production went into this one and I really appreciate when experimentation pays off. “Tsunami” is slower and vaporwavy and right off the Drive soundtrack. I’m with it.

“Make me ripple till I’m wavy” lol

The best song on the entire album is “Pendulum” and it’s not even close. Let’s do it like this:

Energy: Check

Our much coveted Katy Perry bass lines: Check

Interesting melodic verses: Check

GREAT Chorus: CHECK

Wait, is that a choir I hear?? Mmmmmm yep! Check

Fitting Bridge: Check

Drums drop out for singing and clapping: Check

Hell yeah, this song is phenomenal. *Adds to playlist*

“IT ALL COMES BACK AROUND”

So yeah, this album is alright. I’m glad I gave it a break before coming back to it. My feelings didn’t change too much but I did warm up to it a smidgen. Between the known singles and just a few decent new songs, I found myself not caring about chunks of the album. I’m still not convinced the singles fit the tone of the entire thing but still they are good. I counted the songs I liked vs the ones I didn’t and it came out close to even but I felt disappointed overall. Unfortunately I am 100% sure the radio will drown me into submission until I am in love with a majority of Witness. 

Enjoy it here, bon appétit:

“IT’S A PENDULUM”

THIS SONG IS SOO GOOD              

 

SZA-Ctrl

Do I even want a woman like SZA? Yeah, most definitely…probably…I think


Alright, I have two reviews to do today so they both might be short but I wrote a lot of notes about this album so…we’ll see.

SZA (I think it’s pronounced sizza) is a 26 year old singer signed to TDE, the label that hold such well-known heavyweights as Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Isaiah Rashad. She’s released a few EPs but Ctrl is her first full length album. My introduction to her was  a couple years ago with the song “Babylon” ft Kendrick. It bangs. A hazy, airy instrumental with layered vocals and a sick rhythmic verse Kung Fu Kenny made me an instant fan. I don’t think the song would fit on SZA’s current project and if I took “Babylon” as an indicator of the future then I would have been wrong.

Ctrl is solid. SZA is a strong modern woman who knows exactly what she wants while at the same time aware of her insecurities and vulnerabilities. Her willingness to bluntly talk about sex is refreshing and sexy in its own right. The first several tracks are about a girl centered on her physical needs along with the power she knows she has.  This is most obvious on one of the project’s highlights, “Doves In the Wind.” Basically, pussy is the strongest thing in the world, we are powerless against it and do THE MOST trying to get it. “The Weekend” is fucked up haha. I like it but the situation is morally questionable. Basically, there’s this guy that she only gets to bang on the weekends because during the week, he’s with his other girl that she knows he has. That’s a life I’ve never experienced but props to that dude I guess.

The last half of the album is less sex-focused tracks but more focused on love from different angles. Exes, personal struggles and desires. On “Garden” she mentions how she’s sensitive about having no booty and hoping how she hopes her man stays despite this. She hopes she is a normal enough to meet her man’s parents on “Normal Girl.” Also the thoughts of still being in love with guys of the past and present run through multiple songs. IThey’re not ground breaking topics and that is totally fine. I do appreciate how there is NONE, ZERO, NO politics on Ctrl. Not everything that comes out in this modern era has to have a political or race-related issue. Tell me your story. Also, as a wide release debut it could have placed SZA in a box of expectations that could pigeonhole her. Gain new fans with your own music, then make a statement when your fan base is established.

Sonically, this album is very consistent. Everything is pretty much the same energy level but SZA’s attitude, lyrics and vocals keep things interesting. I would say it’s very wavy and vibey; you can sway to it. Some of it is trap influenced and electronic while other songs have live drums and other live instrumentation including the final track, “20 Something” with just guitar. My least favorite song is “Anything” due to it’s choppy programmed drum track, arpeggiated synths and the constant repetition of “Do Do”; it just seems a bit lazy and bare. I like how the production for “Normal Girl” fits the words. There is something wishful and slightly whimsical about the synths that just totally fit. All the features work especially Kendrick’s and despite some questionable shit (which at this point, we should just expect) from Travis Scott, both songs are really great.

SZA presented us with very good debut album. Good production and interesting lyrics should hopefully make some new fans especially young women. I can see loads of women in their 20’s crying, dancing or fucking to it which is probably the point.  Throughout the album you here what I assume is mom, talking about control and it really is the underlying theme of the project. SZA knows she can control men with her body but is also aware of the things she cannot. You can want a man to love you after he’s fucked your brains out but you can’t force that to happen. You can deny bums entrance into your Garden but you can’t stop the one you like from cheating on you.

Shout out to the 49 minute run time because even though it was fourteen songs, if it was any longer I could have seen myself losing interest. In the future, I think I would want more variety and experimentation so she doesn’t end up like Bryson Tiller.

This album makes me fearfully attracted to SZA which is good…I think.

Peep game: